Picking and canning tomatoes

My big job in the garden this week is picking and canning tomatoes.

The tomato crop is a little light this year because of the drought and hot temperatures this summer.

I’ve noticed in my garden that most of the tomatoes seem to have ripened nearly all at once. This is a good thing for canning.

Last week about a quarter of the crop ripened and I was able to can a batch of tomatoes — about seven quarts. This week there is at least four times that many.


This crate holds about 50 pounds of tomatoes, enough to yield about 20 quarts.

Tomatoes are among the easiest garden crop to can, so they are a good choice to start out with if you never canned anything before.

People ask me why I can vegetables instead of freezing them since freezing is so much easier. I have my reasons. First, I don’t have enough room in the freezer to hold everything I want to store. Another reason involves security. If the power goes out for a few days in a row, I can lose my entire harvest. That has happened to me more than once through the years. You don’t need electricity to keep canned vegetables.

Last but not least, I get a feeling of security looking at shelf rows of canned vegetables down in our Michigan basement.



Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.